Christine W.

"Studying Turkish opened my eyes to the world of Turkish trap, absurd comedies, and amazing people!"

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Major(s) and Certificate(s): Russian Language and Literature

Graduation Year: 2017

Language(s): Russian and Turkish

Current Location: Rochester, NY

What have you done since graduating from UW-Madison?

I taught in-company Business English classes in Warsaw, Poland, and worked at a technology nonprofit for social development through technology in Buenos Aires,
Argentina. I’m currently an AmeriCorps VISTA working at the nonprofit Refugees Helping Refugees in Rochester, NY.

What motivated you to study this/these languages?

I always loved learning the language and I knew I wanted to study abroad in a Spanish speaking country.

How have these languages enriched your life?

I spent my junior year of high school in Kazan, Russia, as part of the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program. I regularly heard the Tatar language when I lived in Kazan, which motivated me to study a Turkic language when I went to UW.

What do you remember about your UW language classes? How were they different from other classes you took?

Our Turkish classes were small and taught entirely in Turkish. We quickly became conversational, and everyone was always supportive of each other. The classes combined grammar, vocabulary, and Turkish studies, resulting in very interesting lessons. We learned simple things like how to give directions, but also other skills from how to describe horoscopes in Turkish to how rent an apartment in Turkey!

How valuable were your out-of-classroom experiences?

I loved attending the Mats At UW-Madison (Madison Association of Turkish Students) events. I learned how to play backgammon, watched Turkish movies, and made some great friends.

How have you maintained or improved your language(s) since graduation?  

My Turkish friends help me maintain my Turkish, and I regularly attended
language exchange events when I lived in Poland and Argentina. I recently
started a Turkish language meetup group here in Rochester.

What advice do you have for current language students?

Take advantage of the BRIDGE Program and the multitudes of language and cultural clubs at UW to meet students who speak your target language. Try to work language learning into your daily life, and find ways to practice that you enjoy and can keep up.